Title IX: the best thing since sliced bread?

The NYT reports on a robust new study on the effects of Title IX on women’s lives:

She found that the changes set in motion by Title IX explained about 20 percent of the increase in women’s education and about 40 percent of the rise in employment for 25-to-34-year-old women.

That’s a very significant finding. Title IX seems to have had a large, positive effect on women’s lives years later. This study is robust in that it exploits differences in the size and changes in boys sports budgets pre- and post-Title IX across the 50 states to disentangle the effects of confounding variables like demographics, climate, income, etc.

Social scientists have known for a while that education is a large determinant of life outcome, but it is truly stunning that a specific policy intervention (in this case Title IX) would have such an outsized impact on employment levels years down the road. It’s pretty rare to find something that specific with explanatory power anywhere near 40% in the social sciences. The article is a little vague as to whether the study measured the specific effect of Title IX’s impact on sports, or its overall impact on non-discrimination in publicly-funded education. But for now, be sure to thank the legislators who enacted Title IX, activists who pushed for it, and litigators who defended it. That kind of political courage in the service of something that matters is … rare … these days.


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This is a group blog. JSC5 currently writes from the US. JSC7 writes from behind the Great Firewall of China.

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